When you become a mother, you are instantly a part of a club. As moms, we fill in the gaps for other moms when they are in need. We cry with them when they cry, we worry with them when they worry, we pray for them and love them simply because we share this unspoken bond of motherhood. With that being said, many of these moms have fed my daughter Camilla for six months with donor milk. They stocked my freezer full of milk for my baby without hesitation. It is a selfless gift and my gratitude cannot even be put into words. Thank you from the depths of my soul to these moms. Here is our story:
I was sick the entire time I was pregnant with my daughter, and at 26 weeks I found myself on hospital bed rest. By this time, my organs were all suffering and I was very close to having a stroke. But I knew that each day that I was able to remain pregnant was potentially one less day that our baby would have to be in the NICU. I was laser focused to stay pregnant and took one day at a time.
At 29 weeks, my doctor and team of specialists made the decision to perform an emergency C-section. Our baby girl was born a little over 3 pounds and immediately put on life support. I was not stable enough to meet her until the next day. Seeing your baby so fragile and hooked up to countless machines and cords is something that cannot be put into words. But like I had done the entire pregnancy, I chose to take one day at a time.
I began pumping eight times a day and made it my job to provide Camilla with the best source of nutrition and immunities. After six weeks however, my body had given out and I was no longer getting well; in fact, I was getting a lot worse. My body needed rest after the difficult pregnancy and the stress of the NICU. In order to get healthy, I made the extremely difficult decision to stop pumping—I needed to recover before my beautiful daughter came home from the NICU.
After seven weeks, Camilla finally came home from the NICU, weighing just five pounds. I quickly went through my frozen milk supply and soon ran out of milk. We introduced Camilla to formula and were unsuccessful with multiple trials. Although home, she was still very vulnerable—she still wasn't at her due date. She was on the verge of dehydration and at risk for returning to the hospital for fluids. We had come so far—I didn’t want to lose ground now.
It is a primal need for a mom to feed her baby. When I couldn't provide those needs, I felt like a failure. In desperation, I reached out to the NICU and asked them what my options were. That is when I learned about Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin. I submitted the prescription and letter of medical necessity, and spoke with the staff. Without hesitation, they agreed to send milk, and the very next day, I had a week’s worth of milk delivered to my door. I still remember the relief I felt, it was the first night I slept well knowing my baby would be fed. A huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Our baby girl is now eight months old and weighs about fifteen pounds. She is thriving and healthy. We were able to make the switch to formula when she turned six months old. We didn’t have to rush the transition and her body was able to process the change much better. Thank you to all the moms who sacrificed their time and energy to take care of babies they have never even met. I would hug each one of you if I could!
Recipient Mom, Jill